Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Needlework Tuesday - Wraps

Needlework Tuesday is an occasional post detailing my needlework and/or crafting projects.

In the last couple of weeks, I started two projects. The first one was a Mary Maxim project that's been sitting for many moons. Here's the project:



When it first showed up I was really excited about it. However, when I started the project I quickly became disillusioned.
  • The lacy pattern was really complicated, which I had a hard time following while watching TV. 
  • I had trouble with tension.  It uses bamboo crochet thread.  
  • The piece kept falling off the needles. 
The problems just went on and on. So, I put it away. I've now pulled it out again and restarted it for the third time. I'm still having some problems with tension, but I'm using on wooden needles this time to prevent the piece from slipping off the needles. They are a little short, but that's all I could find at the time.  The pattern is still complicated, but I'm getting the hang of it...sort of. There's one section about 3" by 3" where I totally screwed up the pattern. For the sake of my sanity, I just couldn't bring myself to start it a 4th time even though I only had about 9" done. The first few inches were the hardest part for me to get through each time.

Anyway, at the time I wasn't using lifelines and couldn't rip back properly because there are too many K2tog, yo, SSK, etc. I tried to put in a lifeline after the fact, but couldn't manage it. I decided to carry on and just pretend it didn't happen.  I'm back on track with the pattern and unless someone spreads out the whole piece and examines the pattern closely, they won't notice the mistake. Here's what I have so far:


In this photo, the problem section is hidden in the folds on the right. ;)  I'm using lifelines every 12 rows (in a pattern 24 rows long). I hope not to use them.  The finished piece is going to be 24" by 72". In the grand scheme of things if a small section isn't right, I can live with that.

The other project I started is Spectrum on ravelry.com. It uses two yarns from Shibui Knits in two different weights. The pattern is ultra simple (all stocking stitch) and after knitting the complicated lace pattern in the piece above, it's a nice break. Here's what I have so far:


I'm hoping that blocking will flatten out the curling edges.  You really have to look at the finished piece on ravelry to appreciate the beautiful simplicity of this piece.  

The next project from the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month should be arriving any day. I wonder what I'll be knitting next.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.    If you'd done any crafting this week that you'd like to share with others, please head over to Heather's blog and use the Mr. Linky to link up your post, so others can enjoy your creations.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Needlework Tuesday - On Wednesday

Needlework Tuesday is an occasional post detailing my needlework and/or crafting projects.

These last few weeks I've been working on two projects. I'm happy to report that Meadowside from ravelry.com is complete. While I still don't love it, it's growing on me more and more. It appears to be a medium sized shawl (compared with others I've done) that'll be nice to throw over my shoulders once this heat dissipates. Here's what it looks like:



The pattern indicated that blocking is needed to open up the lace.  Even though it's hard to see, I might omit this step.   It's not that it's a gorgeous intricate lace to begin with.  It's rather ordinary and I'm not sure it's worth the effort.  We'll see.

I really like the yarn I used: Lang Yarns Jawoll Color. However, I ran into one problem. According to the yardage on the label, I should have had some yarn leftover, but I didn't. In fact, I ended the piece 8 rows early and still used all of the yarn with about 1.5" left at the end of binding off. That's cutting it close...too close! This sock yarn comes with some reinforcement yarn wound around a spool.  I'm wondering if that amount was included in the total yardage. If it was, it would make sense. I didn't use this extra yarn in my shawl because it's so tightly wound that it's "weight" was much different than that of the ball and would have been noticeable.  I have quite a few balls of this yarn in different colours,  so I'll have to make a note not to expect to get the full yardage indicated.

A few weeks ago, I was worried that the next project from the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month might be delayed in the mail because of a strike or lockout at Canada Post. However, for the time being it looks like the two side are still at the table and the mail is going through. My next project showed up right on time. Here's the project:


Since I had been knitting shawls now for what seems forever, I took the opportunity to do something different and started the clutch the day it arrived. Here's a close-up of the stitches:


It was a bit of a shock to work in worsted weight cotton after all of that fingering weight 100% wool. It feels a bit clunky, but it's nice to do something different.

In my opinion, the clutch is a little big at roughly 11x8. I would have preferred something a little smaller, maybe 8.5x6 or 9x7. Oh, well. I think it'll do.

The pattern could have been written a little more concisely. It didn't specify whether to slip 1 knitwise or purlwise, so I opted for slip 1 knitwise. I didn't notice until I was about a 1/3 done that my slip stitches were twisted. I could started again and done it differently, but decided it looks okay regardless. I thought all of my slip stitches were the same until I look the above photo and realized that at least two of them are different...upper and lower left. Oh, well. Here's what I have so far:



I'm been procrastinating on adding the edging because it's supposed to be done in white. That's adding another colour to an already colourful bag. I'm thinking I might want to trim it in the dark blue or one of the other colours already used. Also, the pattern instructs me to pick up stitches through the two layers of knitting and then knit around the bag essentially seaming and trimming the bag at the same time. Sounds fine and dandy until I realized what a pain that was going to be since it's knit quite tightly. I might opt for a crocheted edge and regular seams. Any advice?

For the first time in months, I don't have another project lined up. I'll have to come up with something soon. My fingers are itching to get knitting.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.    If you'd done any crafting this week that you'd like to share with others, please head over to Heather's blog and use the Mr. Linky to link up your post, so others can enjoy your creations.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Needlework Tuesday - Shawls

Needlework Tuesday is an occasional post detailing my needlework and/or crafting projects.

These last two weeks I worked on two projects.

Waiting for Rain on ravelry.com is complete...mostly   It turned out better than I thought it was going to. I just love the yarn and the colour.  I haven't blocked it yet, but I think that'll even out the lacy sections quite a bit, so it's on my to-do list. In the meantime, it's quite lovely the way it is (even if I have to say so myself). Here's what it looks like:





The pattern was quite easy to follow once I got the hang of it. It's a lot more conversational than some of those old stuffy patterns of years past. I'm definitely going to look for more patterns by this designer. I already have one in mind...The Rain Outside is a sister piece to this one, but she has lots of pretty ones to choose from.

The other project I worked on is....another shawl!!! Meadowside is another one from ravelry.com. I really loved it when I saw it in my local yarn store. Bright and colourful. I liked the idea that it was made from sock yarn. However, I picked two fairly drab colours because the yarn was 50% off and at the time that's all they had in the sale basket. I loved the idea of spending less than $20 on a shawl instead of +$200. Well, I'm not loving it now. The colours are dull-ish and the pattern is super simple.  Not very challenging. It's fairly similar to another one I made awhile ago, which I should have recognized just by looking at the photos, but didn't. Anyway, I'm finding it pretty boring to knit and look at. Here's what it looks like so far:


If I hadn't already purchased the pattern, I probably would just rip it out and make something else. The one interesting thing about the pattern is that you knit two rows with one colour followed by two rows of the other, which makes for a stripy effect.   Oh, well. I'm sure it's going to turn out okay-ish.  Maybe it'll grow on me.  

Another project should arrive soon from the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month. I got a notice today that the package was sent out. However, it may or may not show up. It'll depend on whether or not there's a strike/lockout with Canada Post.  I can only hope that there's a resolution or that they'll get it here before the deadline on Friday.  Last time, it took 6 days.  I wonder what Mary Maxim is going to do if there's no mail service. Do you think I could convince someone that my knitting project is an essential item? ;) 

This week I'm going to continue to work on my so-not-exciting shawl, while I wait to see if I get another package.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.    If you'd done any crafting this week that you'd like to share with others, please head over to Heather's blog and use the Mr. Linky to link up your post, so others can enjoy your creations.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Needlework Tuesday - Knitting and wildlife

Needlework Tuesday is an occasional post detailing my needlework and/or crafting projects.

Even though we've had some beautiful weather here in southern Manitoba, I'm still managing to find time to knit. Of course, yard work is suffering a little, but it's slowly getting done, too.

This week I worked on two projects.

The first one was the June project from the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month, which was a summer tank top. It turned out okish, but I don't love it. Originally, it was longer by about 3 or 4 inches. After sewing it together the first time, the arm holes hung down almost to my waist. Nope, that wasn't going to do at all. So, I undid the shoulder seams, ripped back a number of rows, and re-sewed them. The arm holes are still big and it's still too long and a bit bell-bottom-y (not a word), but I like that it mostly lines up in the front with the tank top I'm wearing underneath.  Perhaps a small would have been better than a medium.  Not terribly flattering, but I'm done with this project.  Here's what it looks like on:


There appears to be one odd row in the back, but I think the yarn just got hooked on something and pulled the wrong way.   I couldn't find it after I took it off.  Also, please ignore my uneven suntan and flabby arms.  Uggg....  No really, scroll down now.  Way down.  Seriously, you can't even tell that I workout 5 days a week.  Sheesh.

I also managed to get quite a jump on another shawl. This one is Waiting for Rain on ravelry.com. I love the look of it in the photos, however, mine doesn't quite look like that. As it is, it doesn't look like it's going to lay flat even after it's off the needles.  I don't think I'm doing anything wrong, but who knows. I did read to the end of the pattern and it says to "block aggressively", so I'm hoping that'll help. Now, I just have to read up on proper blocking. Here's a shot of the whole thing so far:


I'm loving the colour of this one because it sort of reminds me of grass gradually going dormant because it's "waiting for rain".

The short rows lacy pattern sections were quite hard to do at first. I really had to concentrate to get them right. I'm finding them a bit easier now, but I still can't pay attention to the TV or talk to anyone while I'm counting.  On the other hand, the garter stitch sections are so satisfying and a nice break. Here's a close up of the lacy section:


On a side note, we had a few visitors to the yard this week.  This guy is a big help in picking up the bird seed that falls to the ground. He's been showing up around 8pm every evening and sometimes invites three friends to aid in the cleanup.   When I'm in an ornery mood or in the need of a good laugh, I bang on the window to see how fast they can climb a tree.  It keeps them on their toes.  Sorry for the poor photo quality.


The other sighting this week was a Momma White-tailed deer and her fawn. One of the smallest fawns I've been seen....not even knee high, but cute as a button. No photos because I didn't want to bother them. However, I could show you the damage she (or both of them) did in my garden. Hollyhocks...gone. Honeysuckle...trimmed back.  Daylilies...well, I don't really care about them, but still.  Luckily, I had sprayed the hostas with deer-be-gone or they'd be gone as well.  

This week I'm going to continue to work on the shawl while keeping one eye on my garden.   

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.    If you'd done any crafting this week that you'd like to share with others, please head over to Heather's blog and use the Mr. Linky to link up your post, so others can enjoy your creations.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Needlework Tuesday - Middle-aged Brain Fog

Needlework Tuesday is an occasional post detailing my needlework and/or crafting projects.

Uggg...I wrote this post last week, but forgot to hit "publish". It was Friday before I realized what I'd done.  I'm going to blame it on my middle-aged brain.  Instead of rewriting it for this week, I'll let it stand as is, and hopefully post another update next week. 

A few days of rain have allowed me lots of knitting time. So, the shawl, Clapotis from ravelry.com is complete!!! I was a little worried about this one because it features dropped stitches. However, there was no need. All is well and I love it. It's my first time knitting with 100% silk (Miss Tricot Filati Nirvana). I struggled with tension (too loose) from time to time, but otherwise it was ok. It was certainly pricy, though, so I'd think twice about using it again. Here's a shot of the finished piece:


The pattern was a little monotonous, but really easy to follow.  At the widest part of the shawl there were 18 stitch markers on the needles, indicating which stitches were to be dropped. It was little annoying having them under my hands all the time, but I eventually got used to it. As for the dropped stitches, if I had to do it all over again, I'd probably do it a little differently. Instead of letting the dropped stitches "run on" as they were dropped, I'd somehow hold them back until I was all done. As it was, my knitting needles kept snagging the cross bars on the dropped stitches and actually got quite annoying. Here's another shot of it wrapped around me:


The piece is knit on the diagonal and is a little wonky at the moment.  I'll probably block it at some point, but I'm in no hurry.

After that piece was complete, I stumbled upon a lovely washcloth pattern. For the life of me I can't remember where I first saw it mentioned. Anyway, the free pattern is on ravelry.com and is named Spa Day Facecloth. I just love the waffle-knit texture. It might be my new favourite pattern. Personally, I think it looks best in a solid colour, however, I couldn't find any in my stash (that is, until I was all done). I settled for a buttery yellow/white variegated cotton, which turned out fine. Here's the finished piece:


The June project from the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month showed up yesterday. It's a summer tank top. How fun! The variegated yarn is a little too wild for me, but if I wear it over my navy swimsuit or a solid colour tank top, I think it'll be okay. Here's the project package:


I think I'm going to work on the tank top this week. That way I might be able to wear it sometime this summer.  I hope to update my progress next week. If there's time, I'll start another project.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.    If you'd done any crafting this week that you'd like to share with others, please head over to Heather's blog and use the Mr. Linky to link up your post, so others can enjoy your creations.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Needlework Tuesday - I'm getting carried away!

Needlework Tuesday is an occasional post detailing my needlework and/or crafting projects.

I think I'm on a roll with starting and finishing projects. This week, I finished the latest project from the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month.  I'm sure my gauge was off on this one.  Last week, I mentioned that the yarn was slipping quite a bit on the plastic needles.  I managed to keep all of the stitches in tact, but they were definitely more loosy-goosy that normal.  As a result, I didn't quite have enough yarn to finish it as written. That's okay because luckily I recognized that with a 2-3 rows to go and ended it early.  The project picture showed a scarf with a fringe, but I didn't like the fringe and definitely wouldn't have added it, so it's all good.  The best part is that it's big enough to wear as a small shawl!!!! Like I need another shawl. ;)  Here's the finished piece:


After that piece was complete, I started one of the shawls kits I purchased a few weeks ago at my local yarn store. This one is Clapotis from ravelry.com. The pattern is free (!!!) and the shawl is knit on the diagonal.  That's hard to see at the moment.  It can also be worn as a scarf.  Like I need another scarf.  ;)  Here's what it looks like so far:


The pattern is quite monotonous and filled with "knit through back of loop" (k tbl) stitches. I hope I haven't missed one or ten. It's a dropped stitch kind of thing, so I'm afraid if I have made a mistake somewhere, the whole thing is going to fall apart went I start the dropping part. Fingers crossed!

Last week, I mentioned that my local yarn store had a sidewalk sale with yarns 50% off. Here's what I added to my stash:


The light greenish-goldish donut balls (middle right of the photo) are my favourite.  Merino wool/silk mix. So soft, so luxurious, soooooo expensive.  Since I didn't have any idea of what I'd make with it, I grabbed all they had of that colour.   It's probably enough for several projects.  What was I thinking.

With 3 acres of yard to care for, we always have yard work that needs doing, but so far it hasn't interfered with my knitting too much. I hope that trend continues. This week coming week I'm going to continue on the Clapotis shawl.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.    If you'd done any crafting this week that you'd like to share with others, please head over to Heather's blog and use the Mr. Linky to link up your post, so others can enjoy your creations.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Needlework Tuesday - On Wednesday

Needlework Tuesday is an occasional post detailing my needlework and/or crafting projects.

This week I concentrated most of my knitting efforts into continuing the rainbow shawl (Celadon from ravelry.com.) I'm glad to report that I finished it. Yippee!!! I wasn't sure I was going to have enough yarn to continue my symmetrical pattern, but I luckily I did. Here's a shot of the finished piece:

This thing is massive compared to other shawls I've made. If I don't wrap it around myself, it goes down to my knees.  I wasn't sure if I was going to like it because it's so different from the original pattern and colouring, but it's growing on me.  Even though it's cotton, I think it's going to keep me warm on those cool spring/fall/winter nights. I still have some yarn leftover to make a small scarf, hat and/or fingerless mitts. Maybe all three!

After I finished the wrap, I worked on the May project, a "fashion" scarf, from the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month. After "practicing" (as Heather would say) the first 6 rows a dozen times or so, I finally made some headway on it. Instead of trying to figure out the "selvage" stitch, I just did a slip stitch at the beginning of the right-side row. I think it's working out. Here's what it looks like so far:


The yarn isn't as bad to work with as I first thought. It's still slipping on the plastic needles, but so far I've been able to keep it under control.   I mentioned last week that I haven't worked with tape-type yarns all that much, but since this one is quite narrow and the needles are quite large (12mm), I'm not too worried about twisting the tape.  It's knitting up pretty much like any other loosely knit, bulky yarn would. That's a good thing.

I made one mistake in the piece, but instead of ripping back a number of rows, I knitted to the spot, ripped out the one stitch all the way down, fixed the problem, then knit it back up. A yarn over (yo) was involved, so it was a little more tricky than just knitting or purling. It was the first time I attempted something like this and in the end it was quite easy to do. Go me!

Even though it's a simple enough pattern, it's not that well written. Since the company is based in Germany, I think it might be a translation thing. I wouldn't recommend it for beginners.

Lastly, my local yarn store may or may not have had a continuation of their sidewalk sale....50% off! And I may or may not have spent another pile of money on some more luxurious (i.e. expensive) yarn. My husband may or may not have aided and abetted me by picking out some more sock yarn. Next week, I may or may not post some photos. ;)

This week coming week I'm going to continue to work on the scarf from Mary Maxim.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.    If you'd done any crafting this week that you'd like to share with others, please head over to Heather's blog and use the Mr. Linky to link up your post, so others can enjoy your creations.